I first published these words in a newsletter to my patrons this morning but I feel it’s important that everybody who has an interest in The Lifeboat Station Project is aware of the current situation.
Please scroll down to read on…
Ways to support the project:
I wrote a post in our app a couple of weeks ago opening up to the fact that I’m not very well in my head and my heart at the moment.
Many of you have kindly got in touch to ask how I’m doing and I’m afraid that I’m still not doing so well. This is proving to be another tricky time after a very challenging couple of years and I just haven’t been up to writing or talking about it in more detail.
However, it’s high time to drop you a line with a few more words on the matter…
After keeping The LSP alive for two years during the pandemic, we now find ourselves in an unfolding economic crisis. I’m finding it impossible to generate new income that keeps pace with spiralling costs.
Despite best efforts, not least creating an incredible foundation of support over recent years, I’ve had to pause my travels because making new work on the project has become financially unsustainable.
The most obvious cost is fuel but there are many others too, including:
- Studio rent (increased by 9% earlier this year)
- Studio energy bills (doubled this year)
- Conservation materials (nearly doubled since Brexit)
- Chemicals (up around 30% since Brexit as well as looming supply issues)
- Accommodation (Covid considerations mean I’m no longer able to stay with lifeboat families on the coast)
Of course, I’m also contending with spiralling domestic costs from our mortgage to energy and food. You undoubtedly know the score on that front.
As a further consideration, had I gone ahead as planned this month, much of the journey would have been unworkable due to the elevated and sometimes extreme heat.
Not only is high heat the enemy of wet collodion (the photographic process I use) but it makes things uncomfortable for lifeboat crews being photographed in their personal protective equipment.
This latest pause has been a very sad and tough call to make but please know that I’m not quitting.
It’s been particularly tough in the wake of the enormous effort and resources I ploughed into Mission 21 during March and April.
That was my first time on the coast with the project in over two years. I more than picked up from where I left off in March 2020 but even that wasn’t enough to put things back on an even keel.
If you’d like a reminder of so much that was great about that mission — and the project — remember to have a read/listen to the words/recordings in the members’ blog post I published last month.
Furthermore, here’s a gentle reminder of the wonderful film Sean Tucker made too:
There will be ways round this and I need to take the time to work it all out in this rapidly shifting economic landscape.
I’m immensely proud of what I’ve created so far and how I’ve been able to independently fund it for so long.
Back in 2019, I’d truly found the sweet spot within the framework of the life we once knew. It was a truly vintage year and proved that it could all work but, my goodness, how things have changed since then.
You might have thoughts and suggestions for me but I’m sure you’ll be aware that I’ve thought of (and tried) just about everything over the last 8 years.
Corporate sponsorship and Arts Council funding are common suggestions. These are both options that I’ve repeatedly looked into over the years and I have strong, clear opinions about why they are not aligned to the ethos and endeavour of The Lifeboat Station Project.
With two thirds of the project completed, I feel it’s now my duty — both to me and my loved ones — to generate sound longterm financial security for the project and my livelihood within this extremely challenging economic arena.
I feel my best chance is to realise the value of the vast archive I’ve already made. My initial thoughts and plans relating to that are now underway.
I’ve also been in discussions with the RNLI who are fully informed of the situation and are considering ways in which they might be able to help too.
This will all take time and there don’t seem to be any quick solutions.
As always, I thank you for your support and for sticking by me. I’ve been truly moved by your recent messages and hope you’ll feel able to continue sticking by me while I work this all out.
Amidst all this, I’ll do my very best to continue sharing stories from the journey. I also have two talks coming up this week and I’m looking forward to sharing the magic of The LSP with new audiences.
That’s all for now. I’ll look forward to your comments wherever they may land.
Keep on keepin’ on,
Creator of The Lifeboat Station Project
This picture: Kayak selfie on 3rd July — thank goodness for the great outdoors!
Top picture: Hayling Island on 12th January 2016, the 1st anniversary of The LSP.
(photograph by friend, patron and stalwart LSP assistant, Ian ‘Hen’ Henderson)
Ways to support the project:
1. If you enjoyed this post, please click the lifeboat orange heart below to say you were here and feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below.
2. If you think this would be of interest to others, please share it using the buttons below.
3. This is a public blog post — there’s much more to see in the Members’ Area of The LSP Society.
4. If you know somebody else who would enjoy being a member of The LSP Society, you can now gift them membership here!
5. If you haven’t perused the website for a while, head to the homepage for a fresh look.
6. Head to The LSP Shop for prints, posters, postcards, the famous With Courage keyring and more.
7. Finally, if you have any questions about my work, please feel free to contact me.